"Help! I've dropped my smartphone in water and it's not working!" These are the words nobody really wants to find themselves uttering. But the Kensington EVAP Rescue Pouch could save a soaked iPhone. See also: The 8 best smartphones: What's the best phone you can buy in 2013?
An iPhone dropped in water can display a multitude of problems. A wet iPhone screen is often dark, or you'll find the sound not working, or the touch screen not working, or the iPhone is water damaged and needs repairing.
What makes matters worse is that the iPhone features a water sensor, a little strip inside that turns pink when the iPhone has been exposed to water. This iPhone damage indicator letsApple know that you're responsible for the broken iPhone, and it can refuse to repair it (or will charge an additional amount for repair). No wonder dropping an iPhone in water is one of the worst moments many owners experience (and it actually happens to most of us sooner or later).
The advice for anybody who has inadvertently dropped an iPhone (or other electronic device) into water is to use the iPhone Rice trick: place the iPhone in a bowl of uncooked rice and leave it for a couple of days to dry out
The theory is that the dry rice acts as an absorbent, soaking up the water. The other trick is to save up the tiny packs of silica gel that come with electronic devices (to keep moisture out) and place them in a sealable plastic bag. Then if a device gets dropped in water place it in the bag of silica gel packets to dry out.
But nobody really takes the time to save up all those silica gel packs. A more practical solution to fixing a water damaged iPhone is this Kensington EVAP Rescue Pouch. This £20 package contains two oversized pouches containing "a unique drying agent," according to Kensington, that is "700 per cent more effective at removing moisture than rice".
There's not much info on what's actually inside the rescue pouches. We'd guess at silica or some variation on silica. But keeping moisture out of devices is what silica is for, so even if it's just that, we think it'll help.
Once you've placed the soaked device inside the plastic bag (with one of the pouches on either side), it can be sealed up. Then, like the rice, you wait. The instructions (taped to the reverse) say 6-24 hours. The EVAP Rescue pouch also has a see-through piece of plastic that turns brown when all the water has been absorbed.
Does the Kensington EVAP rescue a wet iPhone?
Whether the Kensington EVAP works is debatable. "There are no current solutions that are 100% effective," says the Kensington website and it's still a matter of luck if your soggy iPhone comes back from its watery grave.
But it's certainly going to be better at drying out your phone than just leaving it on the side, and we'd wager that Kensington is accurate with it's 700 per cent more effective than rice claim. And with iPhones costing £500, and prone to water damage, it's all better than nothing.
We put the Kensington EVAP to the test by dropping a device into a basin of water: not an iPhone (we're too attached to it) but an old BlackBerry. We dropped the BlackBerry in the water and left it for 10 seconds to soak. We then removed it and found that although the screen still worked, the keyboard wasn't responsive. We put the BlackBerry in the Kensington EVAP kit and left it for six hours. After six hours we found the keyboard working again, but the touchpad still was intermittent. We'll come back tomorrow to the test but feel confident it'll have dried out by then.
On the whole we'd rather use one of these than the rice trick, and there's nothing worse than dropping an iPhone into water and not knowing what to do. You need to buy it in advance, but it's one of those emergency pieces of kit every iPhone owner should have in the house.